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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Authenticity and Sacred Music

So, I was in a discussion recently about music and the Mass...

Here is the question at hand...

Hmm so when does Authenticity end up being judged by laity though? I have heard plenty of non-traditional music played in such a way that would outshine chant (not speaking from personal preference). And when you get down with the intention all the music during the Mass is meant to elevate persons into worship of the Eucharist, so as long as the music is that means to elevate those persons in Worship then what is the quandary? I am not trying to digress this into a 'do whatever that works and makes you happy', but if the purpose is to Praise God during the Mass, then if the songs are done properly and kept in mind of the rubrics then why even protest?

And for the record, it's easy to assent when your preference is for this sort of music [Andy]. For those of us that don't it is easier said then done.

Sidenote to all of this, while we worry about all the externals....the intention should be called into question considering pure intention is much more valid then the 'form' things take. Excuse me if I am going off, but I tend to rely on my own mind/knowledge then other things at least in conversation such as this.
My repsonse to this is the following...

Authenticity is NEVER judged by the laity. Authenticity is a matter for the Church to decide and to catechize the faithful on. Outside of that, we must simply trust in the Church. But when her members obfuscate the meanings, then we must take issue. We simply must. And when we get to intention, yes....but the intention is not ours, it is the Church's. We are to accept that and learn from that. The Mass does not belong to any one person, but to assume that the music should appeal to one in particular, then one ceases to have participatio actuosa and simply have pariticipatio activa. That is never good. There is no quandry, if one simply does what the Church asks, then one is clear in his intention. Praise and worship is not suited to the Mass. It never has been and it never will be. Look at the Church's intetntion in the documents below and one will see a whole lot written about Sacred music and nothing written about praise and worship. Properly speaking, Gregorian Chant raises one most perfectly in the that is what should be sung.

While I do agree with this reasoning, I don't agree with it because it is my personal opinion or because I hate praise and worship. I agree because the Church says it is what we should be doing....I actually like praise and worship music as long as it fits with Catholic thinking. Heck, my friend Jim is one of my favorite guitarists, but I will argue with him until the day that he dies (or me, whoever goes first) that it isn't apt for Mass.

But, to be subjected to something inferior for 40+ years now, while being told that it is the way things should be done....that is not authentic. The St. Louis Jesuits, Fr. J. Michael Joncas, Marty Haugen and David Haas, among others have misinterpreted the meaning of sacred music and hi-jacked our musical heritage. But, by and large, that is all we've been able to hear at Mass, so please don't tell me that it has been easy supporting this stuff....also, I essentially was blackballed from Campus Ministry in college for holding this line....this has NOT been easy for me....not one bit. I support it, because it is authentic. I oppose the other side, because it is innovative. There is no room for innovation in the Church.

Here are the pertinent documents on Sacred Music in the last 100 years or so...

Tra Le Sollecitudini
Musicae Sacrae Disciplina
De Musica Sacra
Musicam Sacram
Voluntatis obsequens

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